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Discussion on health care proposal lengthy

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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Following a lengthy discussion regarding the current health care proposal before Congress, many at North Meridian Street Church of Christ, 1524 N. Meridian St., Brazil, asked a five-person panel what they could do if they opposed it.

"We need to educate ourselves and legislators," Lynn Hostetler, owner of Lynn's Pharmacy, said Tuesday night at the event.

Dr. Craig Johnson, of Brazil Family Medicine urged those who oppose the bill to send "notes and e-mails" to members of Congress and to state Senators.

"They keep track of that stuff, what people are thinking," Dr. Johnson said.

Hostetler and Johnson were joined on the panel by Dr. Eric Beachy of the Clay City Center for Family Medicine, Dr. Mike Williams of Williams Chiropractic Clinic and Jerry Laue, administrator at St. Vincent-Clay Hospital.

The event was hosted by the Teens for Liberty Generation Joshua Club, a political/government/history club for conservative students ages 11-19.

The purpose of the panel was to provide public input on the 1,017-page proposal.

The majority of the professionals at the panel Tuesday evening provided their own opinions regarding the bill. All five gave their views of the proposal prior to taking questions from the audience.

"There is a tremendous amount of information in that bill," Beachy said, adding he was perplexed as to why it was being pushed "so quickly."

"I think as a general overview, what the bill would do is consolidate power at the federal level," Beachy said. "A valid question is, is that a good thing."

Laue said the panel should focus on the younger generation.

"This is a debate for your future," he said to the younger members of the audience. "There's a lot to be afraid of, but there's also tremendous opportunity.

"We're not going to succeed with the systems we have."

Hostetler encouraged the audience to not just single out politicians if residents are not in favor of the bill.

"We can blame politicians a lot but I think we need to look behind that a little bit," he said.

Johnson has practiced in Brazil since 2001. He told the audience he considered leaving the area in 2003 because of money issues.

Still, he has stayed and continued throughout the evening encouraging the audience to write their congressmen or senator.

Johnson said he was concerned specifically for rural area physicians and whether they would be considered part of a metropolitan area, pointing out the proximity between Brazil and Terre Haute.

"Let them know to protect the status of rural areas," he said.

Williams, who operates in both Indianapolis and Cloverdale, said he did not approve of the current proposal.

"In a free society, this seems to be restricting us more and more," he said. "I don't approve of it."

The panel fielded several questions following openings.

One audience member asked whether health care -- under the current proposal -- would be rationed, stating history has shown that does happen.

"My argument right now is that health care is being rationed," Laue said.

Another audience member asked the panel members if the current proposal contained "protection of conscience," which protects those in the medical field regarding procedures such as abortion and if such procedures violate personal beliefs.

Members of the panel explained that under the current system, physicians do not have to provide services under the "protection of conscience" umbrella with no risk of being fined.

"I think the reason we're so concerned about the health care bill is because it does infringe on our rights," Hostetler said.

"This comes down to legislating will and morals," Laue added.

Members of Congress will return to Washington, D.C., in September. House leaders have stated they would like to bring the bill to a vote when they return.

Prior to the current recess, the Senate Health committee approved its version of the bill.



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